2016 Illinois Charter Schools Conference

On November 10, hundreds of charter school leaders, educators, and advocates gathered at the 2016 Illinois Charter Schools Conference to unite, inspire, and transform. INCS is thankful for the opportunity to have shared ideas and collaborated with you all. The only way to push the bar higher on student achievement and create better educational opportunities for the most vulnerable students is to work together. Together, we can make sure all children are educated, reach their potential, and are free to live, free to pursue their dreams, and free to breathe. Thank you for joining us!

Click here to view photos from the event.


“There is a change coming to Illinois, and it’s being led here,

in the hallways and classrooms of the schools we built.”

Watch the above video about the various charter schools that serve Illinois children.


Clint Smith, award-winning teacher and acclaimed spoken word poet, captivated the audience with his spoken word performance. He stressed the importance of educators creating a space for students to feel protected in today’s society and to use our voice to stand up for those who have been oppressed for far too long. Clint motivated the charter community to continue pushing forward to improve opportunities for students in all communities. He is truly an inspiration.

“It’s on us to create a space for our students to feel protected.”

“We must teach our students that what the world is saying about them is because of nothing they have done.”

“Oppression doesn’t disappear when you decide to rip that page out of the chapter.”

—Clint Smith


Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, reflected on the story of the charter school movement and the need to continue to improve the public education system for all students. He recognized the many challenges the charter school movement is facing and reminded us of why we need to continue to fight for students and the schools we need now.

 “Talent is equally distributed in Illinois. Opportunity is not.”

“…But even as charter public schools continue to demonstrate that demography is not destiny, we have forces at play that want to limit charter growth and undermine the very model.”

“It is my privilege to be at arms with you, to be in service for our communities, and to lift up your voices.”

“Know that I will have your back and will do everything within the power that has been institutionally given to me to protect the freedoms that we have fought so hard to enjoy as a people over the last few decades.”

—Andrew Broy


Stephanie Padilla, senior at Intrinsic Schools, shared her charter school experience and the challenges she has overcome as a Mexican immigrant.

“For four years, I had felt unmotivated and discouraged. However, now, for the first time, I felt like I had an opportunity to hold the same academic standing as my English speaking friends. I was no longer the student in the back of the classroom, afraid of being ridiculed for my strong Spanish accent or my obvious stutter. For the first time, I was sitting in front of the class, answering questions, and solving problems on the board. For the first time, I felt like I belonged. This was the beginning of a new identity, a new confidence, and a love for learning.

Not only had I discovered my love for parabolas and algebraic functions, but I also became increasingly aware of the source of my work ethic. The reason I was working so hard to succeed academically was to prove to my mom that her sacrifices paid off.

I want to thank everyone at my school for the love, support, challenge, and encouragement these past four years. I look forward to the day I can return to Intrinsic to reassure the other students struggling to learn English that it does get easier, to tell the young girls that math isn’t just for boys, and to prove to everyone that no matter where we come from or what obstacles we face, we determine our own destinies.”

—Stephanie Padilla


Vicky Enciso, mother of four children who attend or have attended the Noble Network of Charter Schools, shared her family’s charter school experience and encouraged all charter school leaders to engage with their parents.

“As charter leaders, I encourage you to bring your parents in on your missions. Parents don’t have to go to your schools. They could choose to go anywhere else, but they choose you. They trust you. And when you need them the most, parents will show up and stand for you. But if you don’t open the door to engage with families, you’re  doing your school and students a disservice.”

—Vicky Enciso

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Thank you to our 2016
Illinois Charter Schools Conference Sponsors!


Lake Michigan Sponsors

Charter Schools USA




Awards Luncheon Sponsors


RFP Session Sponsors

Arthur Gallagher Futures Umoja

Wireless Sponsor

Registration Sponsor

Breakfast Sponsor


MB Financial

Strategic Advocacy Group

Premium Track Sponsor

Exhibit Sponsor

Media Sponsor

GK Hertz k12

Conference Supporters

Concept Schools   Hertz
One Digital Sabis U of P Ed